Remembering fallen hero

Project Bugle members Alan Roberts, of The Royal British Legion and Kevin McQuinn.
Project Bugle members Alan Roberts, of The Royal British Legion and Kevin McQuinn.

Volunteers are preparing to remember the first soldier from Batley who was killed following the outbreak of World War One.

Members of Project Bugle will mark the 100th anniversary of Private Austin Nolan’s death by laying a wreath by his grave in Batley Cemetery.

The Staincliffe-born soldier never made it to the front line but was killed on August 22, 1914, by a passing train while guarding a bridge over the River Trent.

He was the first serviceman to be named on the Batley War Memorial.

Pte Nolan’s relatives, The Royal British Legion and members from the Project Bugle team will all be attending the service to pay their respects to the soldier.

Project Bugle leader Tony Dunlop said: “The wreaths have been sourced from the British Legion and were bought through the lottery money.

“It is an integral part of Project Bugle that we remember the soldiers’ lives.

“This will be the first of just over 80 ceremonies that we will be holding over the next five years.

“We will also remember those who came home and died in 1919 and a wreath will be placed on their graves.”

Pte Nolan, of Talbot Street in Batley, served in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and died aged just 21.

Having joined the Batley Territorial Army in 1910, he enlisted in Batley at the start of the war and was stationed in Doncaster.

Only two weeks before his death Pte Nolan paid a flying visit home to see his family.

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death and asked that everything possible be done for his mother.

The Batley News reported his mother was overwhelmed with grief and said residents of Batley were keen to pay their respects with a large number of neighbours visiting Mrs Nolan’s home.

Pte Nolan’s body was brought back to Batley station and the coffin was taken by a military escort to his home in Talbot Street.

His funeral took place at Batley Cemetery and was attended by the Mayor of Batley Coun Ben Turner and 18 members of the Batley detachment.

The service to mark the 100th anniversary of Pte Nolan’s death will take place on Friday August 22, from 11am.

Anyone wishing to attend should meet at the Cemetery car park on North Bank Street and the group will walk together to the grave.